Where to Go in Korea
As you all know by now, I’m going to be moving to South Korea. One of the things I am most looking forward to is Domestic travel while in Korea. There really isn’t much information out there unless it is for Busan or Seoul. While I want to go to those places, I mostly want to visit lesser known areas of historical or natural significant. I really have too many places to go as I plan on traveling about 2/3ds of the weekends while I live in Korea. Here are some hints – and ideas for you – of where I might be headed in the upcoming year! Where to go in Korea ~
Of course, I plan to go to the big name places. I’m actually hoping to arrive a week or so early to re-explore this city and truly see whatever I miss. I’ve already written a post on how I would “re-do Seoul” so check that out. I’m also rather sad that I didn’t explore Incheon either, so I’m hoping to at least have a day there! I’m really curious to see what a Chinatown in an Asian country is like, and I really want to see Jeondeungsa Temple (I originally planned to go here on my last trip but wound up with too much baggage and very confused – sadness).
Geoji Island (and Nearby Islands)
I want to simply *see* this place, full stop. The nature just looks stunning, and many of the nearby islands (such as Oedo) cater to natural beauty-seekers. Of course, Geoji is a historical island, as the entire thing was a POW (Prisoner of War) camp during the Korean War. While I have a hard time with such things, this is a topic I don’t know much about, so I would have to do my best and visit the museum.
Hiking, the national past time, is of course much practiced here so I’ll make it a goal to hike Mt. Daegumsan, which looks particularly beautiful. I’m also excited to experience the beaches, as there is at least one pebble beach (Hakdong). Having grown up in Florida, I am very familiar with the “super pristine” beaches. I’m not generally a huge fan of them, as it’s often at the expense of nature. I prefer different beach styles to explore, and I’m excited to see this one!
This is rather niche but endlessly fascinating to me. I love tea, but Korea has never had the same obsession with it as many other Asian nations as it was generally attached to religion. Where Buddhism went, tea followed, but Korea was majority Confucian at the time of tea’s spreading popularity. Hence, most of Korea’s tea is limited to green tea and is all fairly recent (in the last 200 years). One famous spot for this tea is in Boseong, and I definitely want to visit, however I am even more interested in Hadong County.
You see, while Boseong is cultivated in the Japanese way (with sheers and terraced, cultivated trees) Hadong is much older and uses the hand-picking traditional method.
It is apparently incredibly difficult to get tea from this area outside of Korea and it’s often expensive even inside Korea. However, there is a festival (Hadong Wild Tea Cultural Festival) where some of the tastings are free. I very much want to visit and see what older, traditional Korean methods are. Korea isn’t often discussed among tea giants, but as I have a strong interest in both Korea and tea, I am excited to learn about it!
Haeinsa Temple (and the Three Jewel Temples)
Haeinsa is one of Korea’s Jewel Temples (which are three temples that each represent one of Buddhism’s 3 Jewels). Haeinsa represents Buddhist scripture, and is therefore home to UNESCO Heritage item, the Tripitaka Koreana. These are over 80,000 carved wooden blocks, some of which are around a 1,000 years old, with Buddhist scripture written on them. I definitely want to see this, even though they’re well preserved. But I also want to do a temple stay here, as it is the only Jewel Temple to offer a Temple Stay!
Of course, I also want to see places like Daejeon, Busan, and Jeju. But those seem so obvious that I wanted to focus on these main areas of super interest to me, that maybe you haven’t heard of. I also have an interest in the city of Sejong – not because I’ve found anything particularly interesting to do there, but because I am rather fascinated by this “planned city.” Another of my niche interests, I enjoyed learning about how Paris is a planned city, it would be interesting to see a much more modern one 🙂